Super Typhoon Hiayan — Death, Misery and Conflicts to Follow

The rising deaths and incredible suffering stemming from Typhoon Hiayan has me thinking of the aftermath.  Sure there is a lot of work to be done, and certainly the humanitarian issues will continue to mount with so much death, loss and much of the Philippine infrastructure is destroyed.

But what about after the instant emergency slows and the recovery efforts become a slog and shift into a long-term grind?  With constricted resources one study suggests that conflict will increase, that rapid onset disasters like this typhoon contribute to conflict more than anything else.  It goes on to say that there’s a chance for more sweeping peace-building as long-term recovery efforts continue.  But that these chances for peace-building don’t override what is happening.

So I wonder how to carry out these chances?  Does one wait?  how long?

Until people are in conflict over needs like water, food and shelter?  Or is there a way to structure recovery aid to take advantage of the chance and really build peace?

At the moment no one can argue that instant needs have to be addressed, with several groups like this taking the lead.  Perhaps there’s a chance for peace-building in later stages through economic development as they rebuild and recover?

What about UN departments like this who don’t even mention the Crisis on the homepage (as of this writing)?

With all my conflict resolution training and growing skills (thanks to the NECR Program) I worry about the practical application of these skills.  When people are dead, dying, sick, suffering, needing basics to survive, it can be overwhelming for the Conflict Resolution (CR) practitioner.

What do you think?

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2 responses to “Super Typhoon Hiayan — Death, Misery and Conflicts to Follow

  1. I agree, the transition of a place from out and out destruction to up and running is really very interesting. However, I think each instance will be unique, as culture places a large part of how we react and how we handle conflicts. More than worrying about these problems, I think increasing awareness is the key—and this blog is doing an excellent job. Thanks again for sharing.

  2. I definitely agree with you that one of the most challenging aspects of peacebuilding, humanitarian relief, any sort of world good-doing, etc. is the gap between practice and implementation. It is not something that has an easy answer, or a step-by-step agreed upon “best practices” in terms of bridging this gap. For me, what I like to tell myself is that as long as the world continues to have committed and educated individuals such as you who at least have the wherewithal to raise these difficult questions, we are at least moving in the direction of improving the field.

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